Buying a car in Kenya is an exciting experience. However, with car ownership comes great responsibility, and one of those responsibilities is getting auto insurance. Auto insurance protects you financially in case of an accident, theft, or damage to your vehicle. It’s required by Kenyan law for all motor vehicle owners. Here’s a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about getting car insurance in Kenya.
Why You Need Car Insurance in Kenya
In Kenya, all motor vehicle owners must have at least third-party insurance under the Motor Vehicle Insurance Act.
This basic insurance covers bodily injury or death of third parties caused by you.
However, third-party insurance has limits and won’t fully protect you financially. That’s why it’s highly recommended to get comprehensive car insurance coverage.
Here are some key reasons why car insurance is a must:
- It’s the law. Driving without insurance can lead to heavy penalties including fines and imprisoned.
- It provides financial protection. Car insurance covers the costs of repairing your car after an accident, replacing it if it’s written off, towing services, treatment of injuries, and any legal liabilities. This protects you from potentially huge expenses.
- It gives you peace of mind. Knowing you have coverage for all eventualities allows you to drive with confidence and not stress as much about risks.
- Some covers like third parties are mandatory. You need at least third-party cover to be legally allowed to drive.
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Types of Car Insurance Covers in Kenya
There are several types of auto insurance policies available from Kenyan insurance companies. The main types include:
- Third-party cover – This covers injury or death of third parties caused by you. It’s mandated by law.
- Third-party fire & theft – Covers third-party liability plus loss or damage to your car caused by fire, theft, or attempted theft.
- Comprehensive – The most extensive cover including third-party liability, fire & theft, plus covers damage to your car from things like accidents, weather, or vandalism.
- Specialized covers – These include political violence and terrorism, windscreen damage, personal accident, and more. They are typically add-ons.
Factors That Determine Car Insurance Premiums
The amount you’ll pay for your car insurance policy depends on several factors. Kenyan insurers will assess these factors to decide the level of risk you present and calculate suitable premiums. Key factors include:
- Age of the car – Newer cars tend to attract lower premiums.
- Make & model – Premiums vary across different vehicles. Sports cars and high-end models attract higher premiums.
- Where the car is parked – Overnight parking in secured compounds attracts lower premiums compared to street parking.
- Geographical area – Premiums are based on crime rates and accident risks of different locations.
- Your age and driving experience – Young and inexperienced drivers may pay more than their elder counterparts.
- Desired coverage – Comprehensive policies cost more than third parties.
- No claim bonus eligibility – Having a clean driving history can significantly reduce your premiums.
Top Car Insurance Companies in Kenya
There are over 200 insurance companies licensed by the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) in Kenya. However, there are a few major market leaders when it comes to auto insurance. Here are some of the top car insurance companies in Kenya:
- APA Insurance
- Jubilee Insurance
- Britam Insurance
- CIC Insurance Group
- Liberty Insurance
- Madison Insurance
- Pacis Insurance
- Kenya Orient Insurance
- Directline Insurance
These insurers have extensive experience providing motor vehicle insurance in the Kenyan market. They offer quality products with options for comprehensive policies and many add-ons to customize your coverage. Most also have a countrywide presence with local agents who can give good advisory services.
How to Get Car Insurance in Kenya
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get auto insurance in Kenya:
1. Determine the type of cover you need – Third party, comprehensive, or specialized covers like political violence insurance.
3. Fill in the proposal form – Provide details like the car’s make, value, intended use, parking location etc. Insurers use this for risk assessment.
4. Inspection of the vehicle – The insurance company will send an inspector to check the car’s condition before approving cover.
5. Make premium payments – Pay for the policy upfront or in instalments depending on your chosen payment plan.
6. Receive insurance documents – You’ll be issued a cover note, insurance certificate, and a sticker to display on your car.
7. Renew on time – Auto insurance covers a specific period, usually one year. Renew on time to avoid driving uninsured.
Top Tips for Getting Affordable Car Insurance
Here are some useful tips to help you get the most affordable car insurance in Kenya:
- Compare quotes across insurers and pick the most competitive premium
- Opt for higher policy excess to lower premiums
- Pay annually upfront rather than in instalments to attract discounts
- Consider a black box GPS tracker for usage-based insurance and savings
- Take defensive driving lessons for eligibility for safer driver discounts
- Avoid modifications that increase your premiums
- Maintain a clean claims history to enjoy no-claim discounts
- Purchase multiple policies from the same insurer to qualify for a multi-policy discount
What are the requirements for specialized car insurance coverage in Kenya?
Here are some of the key requirements and considerations for getting specialized car insurance coverage in Kenya:
1. Political Violence and Terrorism Cover
- Only available as an add-on to comprehensive policies
- Covers damage from events like riots, strikes, terrorism, coups etc.
- Requires a car to be parked in locked private garages when not in use
- Attracts high premiums due to high risks
2. Windscreen Damage Cover
- Add-on cover for repair/replacement of windscreens
- Generally must be intact and undamaged at the start of a policy
- Limited to 1-2 windscreen claims per year
3. Personal Accident Cover
- Provides compensation for death/injury to the policyholder while driving
- Requires a valid driving license
- Age restrictions – not available to very young or elderly drivers
- Pre-medical tests may be required for high compensation amounts
4. Tracking Devices
- Reduces premiums but device installation is required
- Real-time tracking assists in the recovery of stolen vehicles
- Data tracks driving habits and mileage
Specialized policies like these allow comprehensive protection but come with stricter eligibility terms.
Consulting an insurance advisor can help make sure you get suitable specialized covers and comply with requirements.
What is the process for making a claim on car insurance in Kenya?
Here are the typical steps for making an auto insurance claim in Kenya:
- Report the incident – Notify your insurance provider as soon as possible after any damage, accident or theft. Many require reporting within 48 hours. Provide preliminary details.
- Fill out the claim form – Your insurer will provide a claim form to fill with all the details of the loss/damage and any other documentation required like police abstract, valuations, invoices etc.
- Investigation – The insurance company investigates the claim, which may involve assessing the damage to your vehicle at approved garages or interviewing witnesses for accidents.
- Decision – Once the insurer has all information, they’ll decide to either accept or decline the claim. If accepted, they determine the settlement amount.
- Repairs and compensation – For vehicle damage claims, the insurer may arrange repairs at preferred garages or compensate you directly to get repairs done yourself. For injury/death claims, the compensation process is more complex involving assessments by lawyers.
- Excess payment – For your damage claims, you’ll need to pay the excess amount before getting compensation. The insurer deducts this from settlement amounts.
- Claim closure – Once repairs are completed or compensation is paid, you may need to fill out a claim closure form. This completes the claims process.
To make the claims process smooth, always keep copies of your insurance policy, and renewal receipts, and be aware of notification timelines.
Provide documents and information requested by the insurer promptly for fast processing and settlement. Having a good claims experience depends on insurers and policyholders both meeting their obligations.
How do insurance companies determine the value of a car?
Insurance companies typically use a few key methods to determine the insured value of a car:
- Market Value – Insurers will research the current market value of the same make, model, year and specs of a car based on used car sale listings and dealership prices. Adjustments are made for mileage and condition.
- Depreciated Value – They will start with the car’s purchase price, then apply a depreciation percentage each year as the car ages and loses value. This accounts for normal wear and tear.
- Third-Party Valuations – For some cars, insurers may consult professional third-party valuers who can provide expert assessments of the vehicle’s market worth. This is common for rare, classic or high-end cars.
- Physical Inspection – The insurer may send an assessor to physically inspect the car and provide an evaluation of its condition, which affects value. They look for signs of damage, repairs needed, etc.
- Sold Value After Claims – If a car is written off and eventually sold at auction, the final sale price acts as a reference point for its base value before the damage.
- Owner’s Estimated Value – The owner’s own declared sum insured and estimated valuation is also taken into account, subject to verification by the insurer.
- Receipts for Upgrades – Documentation showing expenses for aftermarket upgrades, repairs and restoring classic cars can justify higher valuations.
The final insured value will account for all of these factors – original price, expert inputs, physical assessments and current market data.
This provides the most accurate determination of a car’s worth for insurance purposes.
Getting the right car insurance coverage at the best rate involves shopping around, comparing your options, and negotiating discounts. With this guide, you can find great value insurance and drive your car stress-free knowing you have adequate protection. Always ensure to renew on time and comply with the terms of your policy. This will ensure smooth handling of any accident claims or expenses in future.